Even the most frugal among us may be hanging onto a few wasteful habits. Whether you’re already living a frugal lifestyle or just getting started, watch out for these sneaky inclinations that can undermine your good financial intentions.
Garden and Lawn Maintenance
Plants are generally what make literal green spaces green. As a result, most of us assume that maintaining a lush garden full of thriving plants is beneficial to the environment. Your good garden deeds, however, may backfire if you use plants that need high levels of irrigation and fertilizer. Even more wasteful are grass lawns, which can consume as much as 200 gallons of fresh water, suitable for drinking, per person per day in dry climates once you factor in evaporation.
To make sure your greenery is good for the environment and your wallet, use native plants rather than exotic species or thirsty grasses not native to your climate. Native plants have evolved to thrive in your local weather conditions, so they need much less attention and help to flourish.
When picking up Chinese take-out, your environmental conscious may lead you to opt for the chopsticks over the plastic silverware. Although these wooden utensils are definitely the better choice, they aren’t the best choice. Wooden chopsticks are biodegradable, but it takes 3.8 million trees to make the 57 billion disposable chopsticks produced every year in China. About half of these are exported to countries like the United States. The least wasteful way to enjoy your Asian cuisine is with genuine silverware or reusable chopsticks.
When you fancy a cup of coffee or tea, you probably fill your tea kettle and heat the water without thinking twice. Though common, this practice wastes quite a bit of energy, which can play havoc on your gas or power bill. If you want just one cup of tea, filling the kettle means heating far more water than you need. The more water you put in the kettle, the longer it takes to boil. You can reduce your energy spending by simply purchasing a tea kettle that measures the water for you.
Plastic bottles are convenient. They are so convenient that in 2017, people around the globe purchased an astonishing one million bottles a minute, 93% of which were not recycled. One way to reduce the amount of dangerous and wasteful garbage is to make sure that you are getting your beverages in durable, reusable bottles.
The old truism goes “waste not, want not,” and this is absolutely true. For those of us living on the edge of our incomes, reigning in wasteful spending can make a huge difference on our budgets. Wasteful habits are often so ingrained in our everyday lives that we no longer recognize them or give them any thought. Pay attention as you go through your day and identify potentially wasteful behaviors so you can make an effort to change them. Even small changes make a big difference.